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Dreaming While You Sleep

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Sam Loudermilk was almost grateful to be awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of “snore-a-saurus” on his couch and not by the moaning of his father humping a 22-year-old chick right beside him in his bed while he tried to sleep.

Sam knew he was just an asshole sometimes. But his father was a dick-driven womanizer almost all the time. He hated him most of the time but he was still his father, so he couldn’t be angry with him for terribly long.

Sam turned on his back and stared thoughtfully at the ceiling of his bedroom. It wasn’t actually Claire’s snoring that had woken him up. It was his thirst. This special kind of thirst only an alcoholic on the wagon was used to. It was an old habit. Something he never really got rid of. He’d been thirsty for more than four years by now and he intends to stay sober until he dies. But to go back to sleep, he needed a drink now.

He could feel the soft carpet beneath his bare feet when he crossed through the living room. Claire was snoring while Sam passed her. He tried to ignore her, but it was a hopeless endeavor. In the kitchen he opened the fridge and in less than five minutes he had mixed a Shirley Temple with cranberry juice instead of vodka. The only thing that had changed since then.

Back in the living room Sam stopped immediately. Something was wrong. The snoring had gone.

Sam glanced at the couch. Claire wasn’t making any sound although she was still there. For a moment Sam thought she was dead. But then he saw her chest moving up and down in a slow rhythm under the blanket. How could that be?

Sam couldn’t believe it and it took him a moment to move on.

The comfortable armchair beside the window caught his eye and for no particular reason he took a seat. The drink still in his hand he started to enjoy the rare silence. He took a sip from his glass and looked over to the couch. Without being aware of it, there was a little smile on his face.

She was a strange girl. Not because of her snoring, her drinking problem or the fact that she had broken up with her mother. All these things made her an ordinary teenager. He liked her and that was really a strange thing.

Sam didn’t like many people in his life. Actually he didn’t like himself sometimes. Nobody cares for him, so he doesn’t care for anybody. It was as simple as that. Well, there were some exceptions over the years. He had loved Memphis, and Ben was his best – no – his only friend. And now there was Claire. She was different. And another strange thing was that he couldn’t really tell why.

Sam took another sip from his drink, the sweet taste of cranberries on his tongue. It was still dark and quiet in the living room and he felt like he had nothing else to do besides sitting here and watching Claire on the couch.

Sam’s eyes followed the strands of blond hair over the pillow. She looked better these days, showered, with fresh clothes and without the dirt under her nails. She was a pretty girl, he had to admit that. And for some reason he was happy to have her around. Since Claire was living with Ben and him and sleeping on their couch it was difficult for Sam to get any sleep at night but now and then he felt a warmth inside him that cheered him up.

Sam finished his drink, set the glass on the coffee table and went back to bed. The thirst was gone – at least for tonight. He was buried under his warm blanket and almost asleep when the snoring started again.